As its fifth edition comes to a close, Popcorn Frights Film Festival is proud to announce its juried and audience awards that were selected from its lineup of 74 films (24 features and 50 short films from 16 countries). Over the nine-night event, Popcorn Frights welcomed more than 5,000 attendees, over 30 filmmakers/industry guests from around the world, and presented multiple sold-out screenings, including the opening night world premiere of Haunt, the one-of-a-kind Homegrown: 100% Pure Fresh Squeezed Florida Horror program celebrating Florida’s emerging genre filmmakers, and the world premiere of The Gravedigger which highlighted Popcorn Frights’ Spotlight on Women Filmmakers.
The jury consisted of Dread Central’s Jonathan Barkan, Shudder’s Ariel Fisher, Daily Dead’s Derek Anderson, TrueHorror’s Jason Sheppard, and Promote Horror’s Omar Usman. The jurors chose to honor director Adam Egypt Mortimer’s Daniel Isn’t Real with the Feature Film Jury Prize and awarded Scott Beck & Bryan Wood’s Haunt with an Honorable Mention.
In announcing the Feature Film Prize for the film, the jury said the following: “The jury is pleased to award Adam Egypt Mortimer’s Daniel Isn’t Real the Best Feature of Popcorn Frights 2019. A wonderfully constructed nightmare, the film won us over with its excellent acting, beautiful presentation, and exhilarating creativity. As an exceptionally strong sophomore feature, we are excited to see what Mortimer will do next.”
Accepting his award, Adam Egypt Mortimer said, “This is such an honor. Man, the festival had so many of this year’s amazing horror films playing, it’s such a thrill to have played with all of them and be given an award. And this is a major triumphant return for me, as I am in fact originally a Florida Man — or Florida baby since I lived in Tampa for the first three years of my life. Thanks for having me and Daniel at your top-notch festival!”
This year’s Scariest Feature Film Award was given to Brandon Christensen’s Z with an Honorable Mention also being awarded to Haunt. The Short Film Jury Prize went to Carlos Baena’s stop-motion animated film La Noria with an Honorable Mention going to Wild Love, and the Scariest Short Film Award was given to Other Side of the Box. The inaugural Best Florida Film Award went to Alexandria Perez’s The Final Girl Returns.
For the first time in the Festival’s history, the Popcorn Frights Film Festival Audience Award for Best Feature Film was a tie between Dan Berk & Robert Olsen’s Villains and Giles Alderson’s The Dare, which received its world premiere at this year’s Festival. The Audience Award for Best Short Film went to Neal O’Bryan & Chad Thurman’s Toe.
“For us, this award is the highest possible praise. The film resonating with theatrical audiences is the greatest success we could hope for, and we couldn’t be more thankful to Popcorn Frights for giving us the platform to achieve it,” said Dan Berk & Robert Olsen.
“To have any audience like your film feels like a miracle, to win the audience award for my debut film at the first-ever screening of The Dare from a festival as amazing as Popcorn Frights is beyond incredible! I had the time of my life at Popcorn Frights and couldn’t be happier right now! Thank you to all that made the film with me and to all who voted. You guys have literally made a little miracle happen,” said Giles Alderson.
Runners-up for the Audience Awards include Haunt for Feature Film and Go Back for Short Film.
New this year, Popcorn Frights partnered with the horror brand ALTER which provided selected short films premiering at the Festival eligibility for review for distribution on the platform. The Popcorn Frights short films that have been selected for distribution on ALTER are Andrew Hunt’s Frost Bite, Marten Carlson’s Starlets, and Anthony Dones’ made in South Florida film A Doll for Edgar.
“Popcorn Frights’ fifth edition was an extraordinary success that exceeded our wildest expectations, breaking our attendance record for a fifth consecutive year and thrilling our die-hard fans with great film discoveries and experiences. On behalf of the Popcorn Frights team, we congratulate all the winning films and hope horror lovers worldwide get to enjoy their bold and daring frights.” said Igor Shteyrenberg & Marc Ferman, Co-Founders & Co-Directors of the Popcorn Frights Film Festival.
Popcorn Frights Film Festival was exclusively hosted at the Savor Cinema theater, a historic South Florida landmark that in the 1940s was a Methodist Church. Notable sponsors of the Festival included ALTER, Bloody Disgusting, Daily Dead, Dread Central, Florida Supercon, and The Villas boutique hotel.
The sixth annual Popcorn Frights Film Festival will take place on August 6-14, 2020.
This year’s winners are below:
Feature Film Jury Prize
Daniel Isn’t Real
Jury Prize Honorable Mention
Scariest Feature Film
Scariest Feature Film Honorable Mention
Short Film Jury Prize
Scariest Short Film
Other Side of the Box
Best Florida Film
The Final Girl Returns
Audience Award for Best Feature Film (Tie)
Audience Award for Best Short Film
Audience Award Runners-Up
Haunt (Feature Film)
Go Back (Short Film)